Instagram Terms of Service

So, you have probably heard that Instagram have updated their Terms of Service, which, in typical legal language, is a little ambiguous, but it does seem they are stating that they will take the rights for any images you take through the app. They then basically state that they can use these images as they see fit, with no recompense to you. This caused a large stir amongst the users and wider industry.

Instagram made the following Twitter update to say they recognised the drama:

This story has caused quite a backlash from photographers and avid users who now fear that Instagram could be making money form their images. As expected Instagram, (who’s owned by Facebook if you didn’t know) were quick to come out and defend themselves:

As you can see, the blog post seems to reverse most of what they originally announced. Whether they really did get the original language wrong, or were just terrified of angering, and subsequently losing their user base, we will probably never know.

There are a few things we can learn from this however.

1. Always read the terms and conditions of any service you use. I’ve also seen a number of photography competitions that also use fairly vague language which would potentialy pass the image rights to themselves and of course any future revenues. As photographers, retaining the rights to our own work is paramount. Nothing is worth giving that up.

2. There are a vast number of ‘apps’, photography based or otherwise, that we can install and use on our various digital devices. Many of these are free. Ultimately however these apps need to make a profit as at the end of the day, those developers need paying. We seem to have a growing culture of expecting things for free, but this cannot be. Either we ‘pay’ by being subjected to advertising, or we pay a traditional monetary fee or subscription.

Anyway, lets hope Instagram are true to their word and will not either take the image rights from the users, nor profit from selling their photos.

Are you an Instagram user? Will you continue to use the app, or has this issue by passed you?